Theme: Ancient & Medieval
Dynasty: The Era of the Five Dynasties is a multi-player game that recreates the power politics and military struggles of tenth century China. One player begins the game as the Emperor, defending the realm from Khitan raiders, providing flood relief, and collecting taxes, so as to maintain the Mandate of Heaven and continue to rule. The other players are provincial governors seeking to weaken the Emperor's grasp on power and take it for themselves.
What's unique about this game is that the Emperor has a completely different set of actions and a completely different turn structure than his opponents. When one of the governors is able to overthrow the Emperor, he assumes that role, while the disgraced Emperor now finds himself a governor, and must scheme to retake the throne - alongside the other players. Actions taken by the players include military expansion, army building, the collection of taxes, and the purchase or play of event cards.
"May you live in interesting times" is sometimes inaccurately attributed to an ancient Chinese curse, but regardless of where the phrase comes from, these are interesting times indeed. Petty warlords, rebellions, and natural disasters enter play via event cards, and create the chaotic tapestry upon which your struggles for power are woven. Not only must you deal with one darn thing after another, but you must work to turn them to your advantage. Every action you take has its cost, and creates opportunities for the other players.
Throughout the game and at the end, players will score Victory Points for their accomplishments - and earning a VP every turn is the Emperor, because staying in power for any length of time in the Five Dynasties era is an accomplishment! - and the player with the most Victory Points wins the game.
Game design: Richard H. Berg
Map & Counter Art: Ania B. Ziolkowska
Hex Number: 16
Duration: 180 minutes
Players: 3 to 4
Solitaire Suitability: Very Low
Base postage cost: £5.00
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